Historic Policy Change: DEA to Reclassify Marijuana, Aiming to Right Past Wrongs

Discover the DEA's plan to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III drug, recognizing its medical benefits and addressing historical injustices.

Historic Policy Change: DEA to Reclassify Marijuana, Aiming to Right Past Wrongs
Photo by Esteban López / Unsplash

According to the AP, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is poised to make a historic shift in drug policy by reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug. This reclassification, moving marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance, recognizes its medical utility and lower potential for abuse compared to drugs like heroin and LSD. However, this change, still pending approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget, stops short of fully legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

"Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs," President Biden remarked, highlighting the administration's focus on addressing past injustices linked to marijuana policies.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to sign the proposal, underscoring the Biden administration's support for reforming marijuana laws. President Joe Biden has previously advocated for revising federal marijuana policies, notably pardoning Americans convicted of simple possession and encouraging similar actions at state levels. This move is seen as an attempt to alleviate the burdens that marijuana convictions have imposed on many, particularly affecting their opportunities for employment, housing, and education.

Critics and supporters alike have voiced strong opinions. Some worry about marijuana as a potential gateway drug, while others, including a group of 21 Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, argue that marijuana should be regulated similarly to alcohol. Living in a legalized state, I'm still waiting for everyone around me to pass through the gateway to harder drugs... Anyhow, the rescheduling could significantly impact the marijuana industry, potentially easing tax burdens and facilitating research but would require dispensaries to meet stringent DEA regulations.